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City Life

Britten Sinfonia

Two members of Britten Sinfonia smile at another member, who has his back to the camera. They are all on the Barbican stage, holding their instruments.

Associate Ensemble Britten Sinfonia pay a unique tribute to the Barbican on its 40th birthday with a commentary on 21st-century urban life with music by Steve Reich, Brett Dean and Dobrinka Tabakova.

The centrepiece is Steve Reich’s iconic City Life, famed for its use of digital samples alongside the acoustic instruments, capturing a wide variety of urban sounds from his home town of New York City. It’s paired with Brett Dean’s Pastoral Symphony, an elegy to urban development’s encroachment on the natural world in his native Australia. The piece, Brett Dean says, ’is about glorious birdsong, the threat that it faces, the loss, and the soulless noise that we're left with when they're all gone.’

The performance will also include the world premiere of a new piece by Dobrinka Tabakova, commissioned to mark the Barbican’s 40th birthday and written to reflect the theme from a European perspective. 

This performance will finish at approximately 10.30pm, with no interval.

Produced by Britten Sinfonia


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